Through open records, it appears that a French company will now be managing the proposed Dike solar farm under the “Hopkins Energy, LLC.” corporation name. Engie Solar N.A., LLC was added as an officer back in the fall of 2020, and not soon after the originating officer of Hopkins Energy, LLC, was removed as an officer. This would leave the French Company, and it’s U.S. subsidiary in charge of the project moving forward. The parent company, Engie SA, is a French multi-national company that has recently had over $70 billion in revenue worldwide (2019 information).
Engie NA is the U.S. subsidiary in charge of energy projects, and seems to be a major force in the renewable energy market in North America building two solar projects in Texas in 2020. Those two solar projects will produce 425 MW of electricity. They have also built three windmill projects in Texas over the past year, with those projects combing to produce 663 MW of electricity. The almost 3,000 acre Dike project was originally planned to produce 320 MW.
Although Engie NA is taking over for the German company that was previously in charge, all of the agreements, decisions, and contracts remain in place as they were executed under the Hopkins Energy, LLC company name. The organizers of the Save Dike From Solar group have been requesting solar company representatives to come meet with community members, but cannot get a positive response from the company. Community members have banned together and have concerns over the conservation issues related to the huge project. Not only are they worried about trees and wildlife on the almost 3,000 acres, but they would like some answers and guarantees of what happens to the land (and the solar panels) in the future once the project reaches the end of it’s life expectancy. The project seems to be moving forward without community input as solar representatives have already filed paperwork with the Public Utility Commission for their connection to the power grid through Oncor. This could make the project exempt from future Texas laws such as HB2372 filed by local texas Representative Bryan Slaton that would require these companies to put up a bond to guarantee the clean up.
Engie NA dedicates a full page of their own website to “Ethics & Compliance” that discusses their companies moral code and how they apply it, along with how they base their decisions on four core principles. One of these principles is “Respect Others” where they explain that “This principle particularly applies to the respect for the rights of individuals, for their dignity and their differences, as well as a respect for different cultures. It also applies to tangible and intangible goods that belong to others.” Another interesting ethical principle posted on the company’s website was their definition of Integrity being: “Integrity is about avoiding any conflict between personal interests and the Group’s interests. It underpins an absolute belief in the obligation to respect certain values.” The Save Dike From Solar group certainly may feel they have differences with this $70 billion company, but can’t seem to get them to discuss those differences face-to-face.
The Dike group has hired an Austin-based attorney who will try to give a voice to their concerns where the solar company may hear them. They are set to meet on Saturday, March 13th, at 1:00 pm at the Dike Community Center and invite any interested community members to attend.